I had to take Ben to work a few weeks ago. It was just for an hour in between clashing delivery timetables – delivery of children to after-school activities, not babies into the world.
I know 9 isn’t 2, and his tantrum, plate-throwing days are (mostly) over. But he can be unpredictable, and he is always persistent. So I wasn’t sure how disruptive he’d be for the 4 colleagues with whom I share an office.
Reader, I was stunned.
I think I will take him to work with me every time I want a bit of peace.
He sat at the table next to me, reading his comic, looking up through his over-long surfer-dude fringe, too intimidated to say more than “Hello” “Yes” and “No”.
It was only afterwards that I realised he’d been earwigging intently the whole time.
“Do you chat all day at work?”
“You’re so bossy.”
I stand, justly accused of all three offences.
But at least he’s got some idea of what I do. I chat, swear and am a bit (only a bit, mind) bossy.
I’ve been in this job for more than a year now, and my mother’s still asking me – “What is it you do, actually?”
My daughter doesn’t need to ask. Apparently I sit at a computer all day, playing games.
She used to be much more au fait with my world of work.
As a toddler she made regular appearances at the BBC, whenever her father’s work commitments stopped him from fetching her from nursery on his appointed days.
She’d sit next to me, enjoying the delights of a swivel chair, munching whatever chocolate-based substance I could buy from the shop next door, imperiously demanding attention, drinks and access to every knob within reach.
“Don’t touch that,” was my main response to her incessant chatter, as I tried to update the headlines, dial up the next interviewee and generally produce a live, drivetime, radio programme.
She’s older and wiser now, but she’s still not sure what my boss does.
“Does he sit at his desk eating sandwiches?” she asks.
“Does he put his feet up on the desk and have his feet shaved and his legs waxed?” she continues, somewhat bizarrely.
“He makes decisions,” I say.
“That’s easy,” she replies, with the confidence of a just-8-year old who recently told me her friend lives on an estatement.
“I can do that. I’ve decided not to go to school tomorrow.”
She’s got a lot to learn.